Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spotlight On...Nicholas Connolly

Name: Nicholas Connolly

Hometown: Little Silver, NJ

Education: Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, Master of Music in Voice Performance from the Manhattan School of Music

Select Credits: Marcello (La boheme), Dandini (Cenerentola), Marco (Gianni Schicchi), Silvio (Pagliacci), Papageno (The Magic Flute), Musiklehrer (Ariadne auf Naxos)

Why theater?: It seemed more fun than law school.  So far, that has proven true.  I was a shy kid who liked making loud noises.  I started out playing trumpet and singing in choir.  From there I was recruited into the musicals in high school and discovered I really enjoyed performing and connecting with audiences.  Then my choir director (who was my first voice teacher) gave me my first classical songs, and it all snowballed from there.

Who do you play in Whiskey Pants?: Charles, aka Whiskey Pants, the eponymous Mayor of Williamsburg

Tell us about Whiskey Pants: Whiskey Pants is a dark fantasy set in a post-apocalypse Williamsburg, where Williamsburg has become an insular community of drunks who are collectively forgetting the pain of their former lives by staying perpetually wasted.  They're about to hold the annual drinking contest to determine who will be the mayor (Charles has never lost), when a stranger wanders into town.

What is it like being a part of Whiskey Pants?: It's been a whirlwind.  I've been part of a few world premieres before, but none of them have felt as truly collaborative as this project has been.  It's been a privilege every night to get to play with such insanely talented people.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Almost everything, so long as it's done with sincerity and skill.  I love dark, morally murky and unsettling pieces as much as light-hearted romps and heart rending dramas.  Theater can speak to every part of the human experience.  I love it when a production leaves me wanting to go home and practice because I'm so inspired by what I just saw onstage.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I'm primarily an opera singer, so my dream roles are mostly in that world: Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Tonio in Pagliacci, Oppenheimer in Doctor Atomic.  But I would jump at any chance to play Sweeney Todd.

What’s your favorite showtune?: I'm a huge fan of all things Sondheim, but my favorite showtune has to be "Some Enchanted Evening", as Emile was my first big role.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Peter Sellars

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: "A Voice in the Crowd", and let's go with Ed Norton

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I would have loved to be in the house for the premiere of Madama Butterfly, because it was a trainwreck start to finish.  Also, the Broadway premiere of Sweeney Todd, or the 2005 revival which I'm still kicking myself for not seeing.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Currently running?  Hedwig. I saw it with Michael C Hall and I'm going to try to see John Cameron Mitchell before the end of the run.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Bad television sci-fi.  And we are in a golden age of it.

What’s up next?: I'll be going down to the Natchez Festival of Music in Mississippi, where I'm singing the Bonze in Madama Butterfly and covering Sam in The Pirates of Penzance.